This Is Why Training Is So Crucial in Nursing Homes
The vast majority of people who enter nursing homes are dealing with a host of complicated mental and/or physical issues that challenge the ability of care providers to do their job. Residents and their family members must trust that the nursing home staff are properly instructed on how to provide patient care in a variety of situations in order to account for the effects of medical issues. This training is vital to preventing incidents of nursing home abuse, which can arise out of frustration from the caregiver over the resident’s seeming lack of cooperation. Regardless of the situation, there is never a justification for physically or mentally abusing a nursing home resident, and the nursing home can be sued for negligence when such actions take place. Evidence that nursing home failed to verify or provide the appropriate care is one piece of proving negligence, and a recent news story about an incident of resident abuse in New Port Richey highlights the real danger of inadequate education. A 36-year-old staff member at a nursing home was charged with elder abuse after a recording revealed the woman pushing and throwing a 77-year-old resident with dementia and Alzheimer’s to the ground. Nursing homes are responsible for the acts of their employees, and caring for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s requires a different approach to protect the patient’s safety and well being. Florida law has specific requirements that nursing homes must follow if they accept an individual known to have these conditions. A discussion of these rules, and the potential impact on a negligence claim for abuse if the facility did not follow them, will follow below.
Because of the special challenges residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s can present to caregivers in the nursing home setting, as a matter of public policy, the state does not want a nursing home to accept these residents if they are not prepared to offer the appropriate environment and care. Consequently, any facility that wants to hold itself out as qualified to take patients with Alzheimer’s or related disorders must disclose the services it provides to these residents in advertisements or a separate document and why its approach is especially suited to this population. This disclosure must be provided to anyone who requests such information, and family members with a loved one suffering from this type of condition should be seeking out nursing homes that hold themselves out as having the ability to care for such residents.
To further safeguard the wellbeing of residents with Alzheimer’s and the like, the state requires that each employee receive basic instruction on interacting with these residents. For caregivers that will have direct contact for the care of these residents, an additional hour of training must be provided within the first three months on how to communicate with a person experiencing dementia. Finally, for those primarily responsible for the care of residents with dementia/Alzheimer’s, training on following areas must occur within nine months of the employee’s hire:
- handling problem behavior;
- ways to work with families and other caregivers; and
- methods of promoting the resident’s independence.
This training is a condition mandated as part of being a nursing home facility licensed by the state, and as a result, violations of these regulations can provide strong evidence a nursing failed in its duty of care, a key element in nursing home negligence claims. Florida law has specific rules that apply to suing nursing homes for negligence. To ensure this right is preserved, a personal injury attorney with experience in nursing home abuse should be consulted about how and when to take legal action.
Get Legal Advice
Nursing home abuse is a tragedy that should never happen, and if you or a loved one was the victim of this maltreatment, talk to a personal injury attorney today about your right to file a lawsuit. Nursing homes need to be held accountable for this behavior, and the Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado has the extensive experience in these cases that you need to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation.